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Creativity and Versatility: PR in the Publishing Industry

Published on December 2, 2021, at 6:39 p.m.
by Tory Elliott.

The publishing industry is an ever-changing industry that produces a variety of publications — including books and magazines. From promoting gossip magazines to fantasy books, the job of a public relations professional can be tough but is also a great way to get creative.

PR in publishing requires working with writers to establish their brand images, liaising with the media, and creating supportive materials to attract the attention of readers and critics. PR professionals not only have to keep up with their own published works, but they also have to keep up with their competitors’. Publishing is no easy task while working in public relations for this industry, whether it’s leading a team or establishing media relationships.

Tara Torossian, director of public relations at Strike Magazine UGA, works hard to keep Strike Magazine’s brand image aligned with its partners and values. She does this through managing and supporting her team.

“It definitely took me outside of my comfort zone to lead and manage a team through developing tasks, organizing schedules and delegating roles,” she said. “Another thing is going out of your way to maintain positive relationships with our partners by thanking them after each event they helped us organize.”

Photo by Alabama Heritage

A day in the life
Rebecca Minder, director of Alabama Heritage Magazine, provided insight into her daily activities in the publishing industry.

“For me, on a daily basis, one of the things that I am tasked with is our social media,” she said. “You are constantly trying to create content to post on social media that will get your followers to engage with the content.”

Social media is a responsibility often undertaken by PR professionals, and Minder’s job is no different. She indicated that social media is relevant 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that one of the most difficult aspects of publishing is finding unique content.

Along with the traditional responsibilities of PR professionals, according to Minder, “event planning is another big part of what I do as a public relations professional in the publishing world.” Publishers host numerous events — whether that be for book releases or speaker events — and it is important for a PR professional in this industry to be organized and prepared to host an event.

Photo by NordWood Themes on Unsplash

Publishing industry: magazine vs. book
Publishing is defined as the act of making information available and accessible, and the book and magazine industries have apparent differences when it comes to producing this information.

The biggest distinction between magazine and book publishing is the pace in which pieces are produced. According to an article by Stephanie Cox, “In magazines, you have to be prepared for things to change, and quickly.” With book publishing, on the other hand, the publication date is established a long time in advance.

In the PR view of this industry, working behind the scenes of these publications is also a race against time. “When I was in book publishing, I would write a press release or plan an event for every new book published. Now that I am in the magazine world, I’m working on every new issue of the magazine that comes out, so the timing is different,” Minder observed.

Ultimately, it comes down to whether one prefers fast-paced and short deadlines or slow-paced and longer deadlines when choosing whether to work in book or magazine publishing.

Photo by Israel Andrade on Unsplash

Best tips for those wanting to enter the industry
The publishing industry is notoriously difficult to get into, and it takes a lot of work and skills to get there. It’s critical to get advice from professionals in the industry, especially when entering a competitive market.

Making every effort to get into the industry can give someone a leg up on the competition when it comes to breaking into the field.

“I would suggest putting yourself out there in different organizations and getting as much experience as possible, regardless of what position it may be,” Torossian advised. “The more practice and exposure the better, because you get to bring so much more to the position, which is exactly what I think public relations is — having knowledge in different aspects and applying them to your job.”

A skill that is necessary for PR professionals is public speaking. Effective communication skills allow professionals to speak with confidence and motivate their target audiences to stay engaged.

“Public speaking is important. When I was working for a book publisher, one of the authors was running late to a speaking engagement, so I was called and asked if I would go speak until he could get there,” explained Minder. “Luckily, I knew the book that he published well enough that I could talk about it. I spoke more about what we did as a publisher to create the book than the content of the book, allowing the author to speak on that when he arrived. The lesson here is to always be prepared for anything to happen.”

PR in publishing is a profession for those who desire to work in a more creative, versatile environment that requires a lot of commitment. You should expect to put in a lot of effort into this profession since, as Minder put it, “every day is something different and you never know what you’re going to be responsible for.”

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